The Hill Talk’s Glance at the Globe

Iran plans on purchase of foreign uranium ore:  The head of Iran’s atomic energy agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, has admitted Iran intends to purchase 650 tons of uranium ore from Kazakhstan.

The purchase is said to occur over a three-year period and Russia will assist Iran in developing nuclear fuel.

Salehi also said the purchase is not in violation of the landmark Iran nuclear deal, JCPOA, negotiated with foreign powers in 2015 since the agreement did not set limits on Iranian stores of uranium ore. Salehi also stated Iran notified a panel of five countries which oversee Iran’s adherence to the agreement.

German intelligence service spied on foreign journalists:  German weekly Der Spiegel has uncovered evidence Germany’s intelligence agency, the BND, conducted surveillance on foreign journalists.

According to the magazine, the BND ran a clandestine operation which kept journalists with BBC, The New York Times, Reuters and other global news services under surveillance for a period of 10 years beginning in 1999.

Der Spiegel did not reveal reasons why BND kept journalists under observation.

Venezuela, Libya have voting rights revoked in UN:  The United Nations has suspended both Libya and Venezuela from voting rights in the UN’s General Assembly for failure to pay annual dues to the international governing body.

This is the second time in as many years the two nations have lost their respective votes.

National income is the basis for determining a Member States’ dues.  Libya is in arrears an estimated $6.5 million; Venezuela is $24 million behind.

Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Vanuatu and Cabo Verde also lost voting rights for failure to make annual payments.

Syrian talks threatened over attacks:  Continued talks in Geneva, Switzerland, attempting to bring peace to Syria are threatened by persistent attacks launched by troops loyal to Damascus and opposition groups which have responded to advances by Syrian troops.

Talks originally held in Astana, Kazakhstan, have moved to Geneva.  All sides at recent negotiations in Astana upheld a January ceasefire.

Following Syrian troops progressing against opposition forces near Damascus, opposition forces engaged in several suicide attacks in Homs.  Damascus responded with a series of airstrikes against rebel-held positions in the city.

Mohammad Alloush, leader of the political arm of Jaysh al-Islam, vowed a return to war if Damascus did not stop its airstrikes.

VX nerve agent killed North Korea’s leader’s half brother:  The death of Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, is officially been attributed to poisoning by the VX nerve agent.

A highly-toxic organophosphate compound, VX is a colorless, odorless liquid, which attacks the nervous system.  Exposure in large amounts often leads to death.

A postmortem conducted on Kim revealed massive amounts of the agent after he was attacked in Kuala Lumpur Airport by two assailants, both suspected to be female, and died in transit to the hospital.

Kim’s death has caused fear over North Korea’s chemical and biological stockpiles and has caused South Korean officials to conclude Pyongyang may have used poison to kill a North Korean defector and South Korean diplomat.


[Reuters] [Daily Mail] [AP]